X-Men Red 1: Discussion

by Spencer Irwin and Ryan Desaulniers

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Spencer: What are the X-Men best known for? I’d honestly say that there’s two answers to this, because while thematically the X-Men are most often used to explore discrimination and social justice, in execution they’re just as well known for their unwieldy cast, soap opera dramatics, and byzantine continuity. I think what I like most about Tom Taylor and Mahmud Asrar’s debut issue of X-Men Red is how heavily it leans into that first aspect, while ignoring the latter almost entirely. There’s plenty of character within these pages, of course, but this is first-and-foremost a title with a mission and a message. Continue reading

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Phoenix Resurrection: The Return of Jean Grey 2

by Drew Baumgartner

Phoenix Resurrection 2

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Does anyone remember the “flash sideways” device from LOST‘s final season? The show mined a lot of fun out of the mystery of just what the heck that other world was — a parallel universe? a new timeline? purgatory? — but I never really found the guessing all that fun, as the magical/metaphysical nature of that particular mystery meant that any and all of those things could be equally right. I tend to feel that way about most mysteries that delight in building up red herrings to look as likely as the ultimate answer (perfectly demonstrated in Clue‘s multiple endings; the culprit can only be found by the movie telling us whodunnit, not through any deductive work on our own), but it’s particularly pronounced in stories with a fantasy or sci-fi element that might defy our own experience of the world. That is, if we’re operating in a world with a magical island, is it possible to rule out even the most absurd theory? These are the thoughts running through my head as I read Phoenix Resurrection 2. Continue reading

Secret Wars 1

secret wars 1

Today, Ryan and Patrick are discussing Secret Wars 1, originally released May 6th, 2015. 

“Oh, best war ever…”

-General Nick Fury, Secret Wars 1

Ryan: Secret Wars grabs the baton from Jon Hickman’s Avengers/New Avengers beloved/despised/confusing “Time Runs Out” saga chronicling the futile struggle of Earth-616 against the collapse of the multiverse. Hickman dives in by tipping his hat to the concluding plot thread of Doom vs. The Beyonders, the significance of which — aside from helping to shrink the amount of surviving universes down to a baker’s dozen minus a bunch — is still a bit lost on me. The narration of the issue is provided by Reed Richards, and the first installment of this event belongs to him.

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Deadpool 38

Alternating Currents: Deadpool 38, Drew and TaylorToday, Drew and Taylor are discussing Deadpool 38, originally released December 3rd, 2014.

“I learned to recognize the thorough and primitive duality of man; I saw that, of the two natures that contended in the field of my consciousness, even if I could rightly be said to be either, it was only because I was radically both.”

Robert Louis Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Drew: The duality of man might just be one of the most central notions of all philosophical thought. Indeed, it might be one of the simplest — is man good, or evil? —  but that doesn’t stop fiction writers from coming up with insanely complicated ways of approaching it. Scenarios like Dr. Jekyll’s or Bruce Banner’s are obviously artificial, but they allow us to ask questions that might not make sense in our day to day lives: what actually defines us? Is it our actions at our best? Our actions at our worst? Our sense of humor? Our intelligence? If any one of those things changed, would we be fundamentally different people? Deadpool 38 puts these questions front and center, as Wade’s newfound passivity continues to effect the people around him. Continue reading

Deadpool 35

Alternating Currents: Deadpool 35, Drew and SpencerToday, Drew and Taylor are discussing Deadpool 35, originally released September 24th, 2014.

Then things started to get weird;
middle of the night he would disappear.
He’d come home smelling like bad guys
and that would make me really mad.

Cars Can Be Blue, Dating Batman

Drew: It goes without saying that the lives are superheroes are kind of weird — that’s the reason they’re of interest — but they’re often so removed from any frame of reference that it’s easy to forget just how strange a superheroes daily life actually is. Over the last year and a half, Deadpool has learned that he has an estranged daughter, befriended a group of mutants engineered using his DNA, mourned the loss of his baby mamma, gotten married, and antagonized Dracula. It’s a long, strange list that only feels more disjointed when they’re listed together like that, which is of course what Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn do in Deadpool 35, hanging a lantern on just how weird it is to be Wade Wilson. Continue reading

Nightcrawler 1

Alternating Currents, Nightcrawler 1, Scott and SuzanneToday, Scott and Suzanne are discussing Nightcrawler 1, originally released April 9th, 2014.

Scott: He’s back! The recent Amazing X-Men arc found Kurt Wagner, AKA Nightcrawler, being brought back from the dead, an excellent set-up for a new Nightcrawler title. Nightcrawler 1 not only reintroduces Nightcrawler to the land of the living as the star of his own series, it reunites him with ex-X-Men writer Chris Claremont. There’s a lot of catching up to do, and Claremont seems more interested in writing about Nightcrawler the way he remembers him, rather than concentrating on the things that have happened to the character in the interim. Repercussions of Kurt’s death and new life are strangely absent, making for an uneven and perplexing first issue. Continue reading

Longshot Saves the Marvel Universe 1

longshot 1

Today, Patrick and Ethan are discussing Longshot Saves the Marvel Universe 1, originally released November 6th, 2013.

Patrick: This summer at E3, two of the biggest brands in video gaming had to pitch their new systems at an audience that hadn’t had to think about new consoles in years. It’s an absurd proposition when you think about it: spend $400 dollars on one of these boxes so you can play games (oh by the way, you can keep playing games on the boxes you already own). Technologically, the boxes are nearly identical, but something has to separate Sony from Microsoft, so the small differences suddenly became the biggest. In one of the biggest dick-moves I’ve ever seen come out of the conference, Sony specifically pointed to all of those tiny flaws in Microsoft’s XBox One, and said “yeah, we’re not making those mistakes.” There’s something refreshingly honest about Sony embracing the ‘us vs. them’ mentality that the fans have been espousing forever. Especially in light of DC’s reboot and their current editorial woes, Marvel is well-poised to make few quiet assertions about what they’re proud to be… and a few things they’re proud not to be. Continue reading

Amazing X-Men 1

Today, Taylor and Ethan are discussing Amazing X-Men 1, originally released November 6th, 2013.

Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens.

– “Heaven” by The Talking Heads

Taylor: So sings David Byrne in describing his vision of paradise. Whatever your beliefs or disbeliefs of heaven may be, there’s no denying the power of the imagery the word or thought evokes. For some, it may be a rosy paradise full of angels strumming on harps. For others it may be a state of mind that represents tranquility. And for others still it may mean a bed full of Doritos being fed to you while Arnold Schwarzenegger movies play endlessly on repeat (or is that hell?). But what would heaven look like to a member of the X-Men? A danger room set to beyond-lethal difficulty? A utopia where humans and mutants get along? A place free of the burden of having augmented powers? In Amazing X-Men 1, we get our answer and fans are reintroduced to a member of the X-Men who they have surely been missing.

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